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As a leader in the renewable energy sector, installing nearly 2 gigawatts of renewable energy, Aristeo skillfully managed the construction of Heartland Wind Farm, a 72-turbine wind park producing 200 megawatts of energy. As a general contractor with two decades of renewable energy expertise, Aristeo expertly managed the entire project and self performed all site work, foundations and tower erection.
Benefit of an Experienced Partner
The construction of a 65-square mile wind farm spanning multiple counties requires a general contractor that understands the intricacies that come with wind park construction like landowner relations, precise scheduling, crane walks and more. The benefit of Aristeo being the general contractor is that we check all these boxes, plus we’re able to do the work ourselves, allowing us better control over safety, quality and scheduling.
The wind farm is located in rural central Michigan with roads ill-equipped for the substantial equipment and materials required for construction. In the early stages of this project, we completed road improvements to ensure the remote roads and intersections would withstand increased loads, while utilizing traffic control measures to minimize impact to local traffic. We improved 38 intersections across multiple counties to bear the weight of our heavy equipment and turbine components traveling to the site. Additionally, we created 72 access roads to the turbine locations, typically located in the middle of a field. These road improvements required 200,000 tons of stone for over 600 total truckloads of major components.
The park consists of 72 GE towers, all standing approximately 90 meters tall with three 62 meter blades at a max height of 152 meters. To install these nearly 500 feet tall towers, we secured the use of two types of cranes to successfully hoist the heavy components. The team determined the best plan for moving the cranes between the 72 turbine locations, prioritizing crane walks as opposed to crane breakdowns. Breaking the cranes down and re-assembling are minimized as they are time consuming and adversely impact the productivity of the project, however in some instances, like landowners requesting no crane walks on their property, it is the only option.
Our team also supported complex permitting for construction on the 65-square-mile site. Had our team not been experienced at managing permit requirements and communication with multiple agencies, the project schedule could’ve been impacted.
General Contractor with Self Perform Services
Our team of laborers, operators, cement masons, carpenters, turbine technicians and more are specialized in wind park construction and have helped build dozens across the country with Aristeo. Our self perform teams completed site preparation, turbine foundations, turbine offload, tower erection, tower wiring and site restoration upon project completion. In total, we poured nearly 45,000 CY of concrete for the foundations. We also self performed the site work and foundations for the two substations onsite that tie the turbine collection lines into the main power grid. For these substations, we installed two transformer pads and containment pits, 236 drilled piers and a retention pond with an oil-water separator. The substations required over 300 CY of concrete and 450,000 SF of site leveling.
As the general contractor overseeing the entire project, we also managed 13 additional subcontractors onsite to assist with engineering, electrical, fabrication/installation of resteel, crane rentals/hauling, restoration, testing and more.
Managing Unique Circumstances
Aristeo is an experienced contractor well-equipped to tailor solutions. During site work, Aristeo discovered 11 soon-to-be turbine locations where the water table was too high – only three to five feet below grade instead of the necessary 10 feet below grade to successfully excavate and pour foundations.
The unplanned dewatering of these 11 sites consisted of pumping excess water out to temporarily lower the groundwater levels to allow for foundation pouring. Once the concrete was poured and cured, the water was let back in due to the buoyant nature of the foundations chosen. Dewatering impacts foundation activities and erection crews, thus complicating sequencing for the remaining activities, however our self perform teams progressed the project despite this unforeseen challenge. In total, we placed a variety of buoyant, semi-buoyant and non-buoyant foundations to accommodate the excess water onsite.
Our team is proud to have completed this project on time across 16 months and 145,000 manhours with zero recordable incidents.